Middle Park girls push record up to 2-1 early in uncertain season
The Middle Park girls basketball team is 2-1 this season, a year in which the team and its seniors have great depth but no guarantees.
In the first three games of the girls’ 13-game schedule, Middle Park defeated Clear Creek 54-10 and DSST: Montview 64-31 while falling 71-27 against a tough Moffat County squad in between.
In the Panthers’ Tuesday contest vs. DSST:Montview, Bella Svoboda went off with a game-high 26 points, showing the sophomore has come on strong as a serious scoring threat.
“She was just, she couldn’t miss,” coach Mike Reigan said of Svoboda’s 26-point night, which gave her 47 points on the season.
In the same game, Panthers seniors Brianna Renteria put up 13 points and Abby Kuhnel was critical working the ball around to produce offense.
“Abby had some amazing assists,” Reigan said. “The other players can’t score if they don’t get the ball, and she did a great job getting them the ball.”
With 34 points across three games, senior team captain Katie Trail has boosted the Panthers’ offense nicely this year too, including with a team-high 11 points vs. Moffat County and tying Svoboda for the team-high 14 points vs. Clear Creek.
Other seniors on the basketball team are Holly Harms, Emily Lantermans, Angie Butler, Canyon Jarbo, Cameryn Friesen, Margellie Alvarado, Kylee Brammer and RJ Friesen. Each is working well on the team preforming their individual roles, Reigan said, with younger players like Emry Burns running point or Maddie Trail and Valerye Rangel hustling off the bench for a defensive spark.
Having made the playoffs the last five years, the Panthers want to be back again this year, and with a little luck they might just do it.
The girls are working in a different format. The district tournament does not exist. Instead, teams will qualify for the playoffs based on a series of criteria and rankings, which only leaves so much in the Panthers’ control.
While the team tries to concentrate on what the girls can affect, Reigan said many things are just out of their hands.
Teams have been required to wear masks during the games, and few fans, if any, are being allowed into games, which are heavily impacted by COVID-19 protocols and being managed differently by the home teams. Nobody seems to like the limitations very much, but the Panthers are making do and at least they get to play.
“We’re lucky up here. We’ve kept things going and we’ve been lucky,” said Reigan, who knows of other high schools that haven’t been able to put together teams this year.
The Panthers’ next game is scheduled for tonight at Lake County before Middle Park faces Pinnacle on the road Saturday.
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